A Vastly Improved Success Rate

When generating ideas, it is inevitable that a certain proportion will be not useful – they may be irrelevant, impossible, unclear or valueless. Normal brainstorming workshops have a success rate of about 1%: this means that about 99 out of 100 ideas are useless. This is extremely inefficient.

On the other hand, a well-designed and executed workshop using Idea Engineering techniques can improve this rate substantially. In most cases, the ideas produced are divided approximately equally into three categories: clearly valuable, not valuable and unclear. In other words, the success rate is at least 33%. This allows our clients to save a lot of time and effort: usually just two or three hours idea generation can produce enough input for their needs. The rest of the time can be spent developing, evaluating and discussing the best ideas.

Why standard techniques are not enough

There are two major reasons why the vast majority of standard creativity techniques are not sufficiently powerful for technical and business applications.

Change of perspective is weak or missing.

A change of perspective is a word, picture or statement provided by the facilitator with the intent of inspiring ideas. Most creativity techniques contain no change of perspective or very weak ones. Classical brainstorming for example, offers no change of perspective – the members of the group are expected to come up with ideas on their own.

A change of perspective is essential in order to …

  • overcome professional myopia
  • think “out of the (wrong) box”
  • direct thinking into the “right box”.

For example, if a service company was looking for ways to improve its offer for first-class clients, it might look at how an airline or a five-star hotel does this.

Idea Engineering practice will always try to find strong changes of perspective that direct the participants’ thinking towards productive concepts.

They are not goal-oriented.

A good idea generation technique will use inspirations or questions that are linked to the task to be solved.

For example, when looking for ideas for improving the efficiency of a production process, it makes sense to ask questions such as

  • When to tasks have to be unnecessarily reworked?
  • When does missing information lead to delays?
  • When does an unexpected occurrence disturb the process?

Idea Engineering will always try to provide changes of perspective that are derived from expert knowledge of the subject area.